Rethinking Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

I love seasons. Being a Texas girl, living in Ohio has spoiled me with (what I think, they may disagree) such distinct seasons. Currently, fall is around the corner. It’s still warm here, but I see the leaves just begging to change color and that crisp wind waiting to swirl and hit our tiny town. I truly love the beginning of each season, it brings such angst, newness, and possibilities and these are characteristics of creation I heartily praise God for! God is gracious to allow us the glory of variety, the beauty each of His seasonal changes bring.

I don’t know about you, but along with the angst for a change in weather also comes an angst for a change in possessions. This gets me every year, just ask my husband! Attached to the excitement of new things is the desire for more things, and this can be quite dangerous for Christians. This is not about materialism, per se, but what’s behind our materialism. We truly believe this preposterous lie that unless we indulge ourselves with what the new season offers, then we have missed out; we believe our heart’s joy cannot be truly met unless we have what we trust we need.

Let’s take fall for example. You see the pumpkins filling up the aisles, fall foliage seeping out of every crevice in every store you find yourself in. Pictures of the great Pumpkin Spice Latte are catching your eye, and the new scents stealing your breath, oh how lovely is fall!

The Temptation

Dramatic language aside, this is truly the progression we find ourselves in, and the excitement comes not necessarily from the season, but all the stuff that goes with the season. We buy into the scandalous lie that our enemy loves to taunt us with: “You need this.” Take notice, this is garden language and garden deceit! “Just take a bite. God is great, but you really need God AND [fill in the blank].” Simply stated, but profoundly infiltrated is this pattern in our lives. Even in the change of seasons we can find a way to clench onto the creation much tighter than we do the Creator. This temptation we face with all of life, yet I have found the consumerism bucket seems to tilt far more when my heart’s discontentment is stirred by the sight of “new things”. Don’t be fooled. The fight is not against the thing, the fight is against your desires. There is a reason you get so much happiness and excitement from a tangible substance or possession while letting your delight terminate upon it, a tragic reality. There is a reason the sentence, “no, we can’t do that right now”, (I’ve never heard that before!) from your beloved husband can completely ruin your hopes of enjoying and reveling in a new season. Jesus says to His disciples that it is not what enters a person that makes him unclean, but that which comes from within, the desires of the heart. (Matthew 15:11)

I love what author Trish Warren writes regarding a life of Eucharist, which means, “Thanksgiving.”:

“We must guard against those practices—both in the church and our daily life— that shape us into mere consumers. Spirituality packaged as a path to personal self-fulfillment and happiness fits neatly into Western consumerism. But the Scriptures and the sacraments reorient us to be a people who feed on the bread of life together and are sent out as stewards of redemption. We recall and reenact Christ’s life poured out for us, and we are transformed into people who pour out our lives for each other.”

If you have found yourself here, join the millions of Americans that surround you, friend. If sin seized an opportunity through the good, perfect law of God (Romans 7:11), don’t be taken back when it finds its way in something perfectly good as a new season.

The Opportunity

Waiting is hard. Waiting is good. Waiting makes the arrival of what we’ve been waiting for so much greater. God has redeemed His people through His holy Son Jesus, and here we are…waiting. Waiting for His return, His presence to physically fill all we see and do. We wait to feel the weight of God’s glory in light of all we have suffered, labored and lost here. We wait to be forever glorified beings, restored and flourishing, enjoying eternally the God who made the sea, land, universe, molecules, and seasons. In our waiting, we have been given an incredible opportunity, in the here and now, to reflect to this unhappy, unsatisfied world that we have tasted Living Water and we have no need for the world’s. Our opportunity before those perishing and before our ever-present Lord is to keep in step with the faith we claim to have in Christ and walk as we truly have been filled with the riches of His grace, and we are without wanting.

Yet, that wanting likes to perk up its ugly head and deceive us into trusting in what our heart tells us. And there forgoes the peace that is produced when we deny our feelings and faithfully steady our heart upon who God says He is.

“This is what the Lord, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the Lord of Armies, says: I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me.”‭‭ – Isaiah‬ ‭44:6‬

There is no God but He. There is no Lord but our Lord. There is no sovereign worth serving, no power to fall before, no pleasure to take comfort in besides The Lord. Do you trust this?

This is not a warning against pumpkin carving, candle shopping, coffee sipping and all other activities that this season brings. By all means, buy your pumpkins, candles, and coffee! God has given us all things to enjoy, yes! You have an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy richly God’s blessings and go crazy in worship as you respond to His unmerited, bottomless, undeserved grace and love towards you. The difference lies in worship. If God only provided you with the creation (whatever that may be) of His hand to behold, would your heart be fulfilled as you marvel that a God could make such a beautiful tree or will you still be missing those lousy pumpkins? If we have absolutely nothing in this world except more of God and His presence here with us, then we have more than everyone else and the world combined. What an opportunity you have to bless the Lord this new season for His matchless beauty and awe-inspiring glory.

Pumpkin Spice Latte or not, all new things are only worth enjoying if they channel our love towards Love itself, not the byproduct. We can lay down our sins before Him, however silly they seem to others, and trust that His righteousness covers us, He calls us beloved, and we will soon stand before Him declared faithful—right now, that’s the only “new season” I long for, and I pray that is the case for you too. If not, draw near in truth to a God who will shatter all other loves as He consumes you with His, and enjoy this new season in all its true purpose, to sing the wonders of its Maker.